Been & Going

[California Seething] Confessions of a Clipper Fan- 2015 Choke Edition

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Here’s the new stuff- added May 25, 2015

It used to be that I could wear a Clipper hat and no one would say anything. Well, to my face anyhow. Behind my back- it was all “Is that guy wearing a Clipper hat???” and “What is he trying to be funny or something???” and Billy Crystal“Wow, Billy Crystal’s really letting himself go.” Then, after carefully assessing the situation, most people would just assume that I was some sort of dimwitted charity case who had gotten the hat for free and didn’t know any better, like a Haitian kid in one of Sean Penn’s refugee camps (Are those my Haitians in there? ARE THOSE MY HAITIANS IN THERE???) with a brand new World Champion Seattle Seahawks t-shirt.

But, then, a few weeks ago, everything changed and suddenly my Clipper hat was a magnet for conversation- and it was great! People would say: “Do you really think we can beat the Spurs?” and I would say “The way Blake is playing- anything is possible.” And then, a week later they would say “Oh my God- did you see Game 7??” and I would say “Holy shit- I can’t believe Chris hit that shot!!! Amazing!!!” And it kept getting better after that. They would say “Dude- we’re seriously killing the Rockets!!!” and I would say “The way we’re playing- we could go all the way!!” and then a week later they would say “Are we gonna close them out tonight?” and I would say “Hell yeah- the Rockets don’t stand a chance!!”

And then, then, then…..well, things took a turn. First it was “Oooh- did you see what happened last night?” and I was all “Yeah- no big deal- we’ll finish them off at home.” And then it was “How did they manage to lose last night??” and I was like “Wait- what? They lost? They were up by 19 when I went to bed??? What the fuck?????” and then, finally it was “Oh my God- did you see Game 7?” and I was like “Oh yeah. We looked like shit. I can’t believe DeAndre blew that dunk. Embarassing.”

And now. Well. Now they don’t say anything anymore. They just give me a sidelong glance of pity, like “can you Cal Seething- 052515- tattoobelieve that guy actually paid MONEY for that hat?” like I’m the grinning putz who actually paid money for a Seattle Seahawks Back to Back Champions tattoo “He must have thought the Clippers had a chance. Ha!” and then they go right back to talking about who the Lakers are gonna take with the #2 pick in the draft.

Well, listen here, smug Laker fan a-holes- first of all- unless the Lakers use the #2 pick to get Doc Brown and a Delorean and go back to 2002, they’re still gonna be a fucking lottery team next week (or Loteria team, as they say during NBA Hispanic Heritage Month) and the Clippers are still gonna be one of the best teams in the grueling Western conference. It’s sort of absurd, BTW, that to get to the Finals in the West teams need to go through the Spurs, the Warriors, the Rockets and the Grizzlies- which is like pushing a peanut with your nose up a mountain made of pepper, and all LeBron needs to do in the East is beat the Chicago This is Some Bull-Shits, the Atlanta Pigeons and the Solomon Schechter Day School All Stars (Celtics) .

Anyhow- just to set the record straight, I’m not some bandwagon jumping Clipper fan. The Clipper bandwagon, BTW,Cal Seething- 052515- dadip is officially the Least Jumped On since the late 90’s campaign to make Da Dip the new Macarena and the Tiny House movement. Speaking of which- I think we can all agree that the people on Tiny House Hunters are absolutely THE most loathsome and repellent of all the House Hunters idiots, since they combine the usual House Hunters overdeveloped sense of entitlement with a noxious level of smug self righteousness- a combination not usually seen outside of a Millennial Lives Matter March (there’s no such thing, of course. It’s never been called into question that millennial lives matter AND THAT’S PART OF THE PROBLEM RIGHT THERE.) So, yeah- in order of doucheyness, it goes: Tiny House Hunters, Island Hunters, House Hunters International (but, like, the ones with the Americans who are looking for a vacation house and seem totally shocked that houses in the Nicaraguan rain forest don’t have open plan kitchens, spa showers and a view of the beach), House Hunters Off the Grid, House Hunters (just, like regular House Hunters), House Hunters International (but, like, the ones with the Europeans who are just super-duper excited to find a fifth floor walk up with such amenities as “bedrooms”, a “shower” and a view of “nothing”), and House Hunters Renovation Cal Seething- 052515- tinyhh(because we get to watch them suffer a little, and that’s always gratifying. Ahhhh the suffering of others. That’s the stuff.)- with honorable mention given to Caribbean Life and Beachside Bargain Hunt cause fuck those people for wanting a cheap house near the beach. Who do they think they are, anyhow?

Usually on Tiny House Hunters, there’s some bug-eyed dad in the throes of a midlife crisis who decided to buy the tiny house only after reluctantly turning down that sweet winter caretaker gig at the hotel in Colorado who is dragging his put-upon squeaky voiced buzzkill of a wife who’s all “blah blah we need indoor plumbing whine whine no composting toilet nag nag nag” and their 47 kids into his Tiny House nightmare. This poor, misguidedCal Seething- 052515- zoo fool watched We Bought a Zoo one time too many on TNT while he was waiting for the Clipper game to start and popping Abilify like Mike and Ike’s and now he’s convinced the tiny house will bring his Minecraft-at-the-dinner-table family together, when really, all he’s doing is providing source material for his daughter’s inevitable one-person show Tiny Fun Home, opening August, 2021 at the Complex, which, of course, will be filled with one person shows since that’s all anyone will be able to produce. Thanks, Equity! Meanwhile, throughout the whole episode, their “Keep it Real-tor” spends the episode rolling her eyes at the couple’s idiocy and seems less concerned about selling these dingleberries a house than trying to convince the viewing public that she isn’t the crazy one by saying stuff like “normally, I would never think of showing a house like this for a family of six- but- hey- this is what they wanted so…..good luck to them”. And invariably at some point in the episode the husband looks around one of the houses and says with dismay “wow- this is really small”….cause…yeah…it is small….it’s tiny…it is, in point of fact a “tiny house”…which, if I’m not mistaken is EXACTLY WHAT YOU IDIOTS Cal Seething- 052515- tarantulaWERE HUNTING FOR. I mean, if the show was called Tarantula Hunters you wouldn’t be all like “Ewww- what are all these fuzzy spidery looking things?” No- you’d be like “Oh hey- look at all these tarantulas. I am happy to see so many tarantulas here because that is EXACTLY THE THING I AM HUNTING FOR.” And THAT’S why Tiny House Hunters is the worst of all House Hunters shows. I rest my case.

Except, wait, that wasn’t the case I was making. CRAP! Worst lawyer ever. The case I was making is that I’m not some bandwagon jumping Clipper fan. Hell, I’ve been going to Clipper games since the Michael Olowokandi days, since they were giving away free tickets with a $25 purchase at Foot Locker, since the best players on the court were the 5th graders playing at half time, since they were the NBA’s equivalent of the Washington Generals and they actually made the Knicks look the Globetotters. That’s right- I chanted MVP for Elton Brand, Cal Seething- 051514- shawncheered when we gave Chris Kaman a big contract, and watched my hopes shatter like Livingston’s leg as he went up for an uncontested layup and came crashing down right along with the Clippers’ season. Oh-what? I’m sorry? Are you confused? Don’t get these references? Have no idea what I’m talking about? THAT’S RIGHT- BITCHEZ!!! Because you’re not a real Clipper fan and I am? And is that something to be proud of? OF COURSE IT’S NOT- why would it be? They were a fucking embarrassment. But because of some….totally cryptic reason, I’m proud of it anyhow. I can’t explain it.

And also- just to be clear- yes, yes, yes, I do, in fact own a Tiny House BUT I DIDN’T DO IT BECAUSE IT WAS FASHIONABLE. I did it because we wanted to buy a house on the west side of Los Angeles and the types of houses available to us were limited to “tiny” or “van” – and, clearly, we weren’t about to try and live in a van – not with the parking in our neighborhood. Though I am excited for an all new season of Van Hunters (“she wants a 1970’s Cal Seething- 052515- vanairbrush design of a coyote howling at the moon and he’s looking for a classic dirty white kidnapper van”).

So- right- like I was saying- I’ve been a Clipper fan for a while- and, as proof, I offer you the post below, written in the depths of last year’s Donald Sterling mishigos. And, if you still don’t believe me you can read this post from the old Fierce & Nerdy days in which I pay tribute to the two cities that co-exist in Los Angeles- the ritzy-glitzy Lakerwood- epicenter of rhinestone jeans, selfie sticks and cornball California cliches and, the hard-working apartment villages of Clipper City- where dusty jacaranda blooms mingle with Carl’s Jr. cups on the sidewalks, every dented beige Toyota Corolla on the street has a hood streaked with pigeon shit and the guy selling corn on the cob out of a shopping cart causes a sensation that sends all the chihuahuas on the block into an absolute yapping frenzy. That’s the Los Angeles where I live- where my tiny van is proud to park- Clipper flags, pigeon shit and all.

And here’s the old stuff- from May 10, 2014

One of the hoariest clichés of male/female relationships is that women are attracted to men that are bad for them and that they just want “nice guys” to be friends. Now, I don’t know if this is true- though, I have to say there were so many girls in High School that just wanted “to be friends” that my first stand-up name as a teenager was “Platonic Man” – “sort of like Superman but Lois Cal Seething-050514-platonicmanLane just wanted to chat.” Wow. I just realized that if that joke were a person, it would be in grad school by now. Huh. Excuse me for one second (midlife crisis related crying jag) OK- I’m back!! Want to see my Corvette? Ha! Kidding, of course- no way I’ll ever be successful enough to buy a Corvette. Huh. Excuse me for one second (midlife crisis oh my god I’m a failure what have I done with my life midlife crisis related crying jag.) OK- I’m back!! Got Testosterone in my armpits and Just For Men in my hair and I’m ready to rock!! Ha! Kidding, of course. I don’t have nearly enough hair to be worth coloring. Huh. Excuse me for second (male pattern baldness oh my god I’m a failure what have I done with my life midlife crisis related crying jag).

Anyhow- like I said- I don’t know if this “Good Girls love Bad Boys” thing has much truth to it. Probably not- it’s just one of those remnants of the patriarchy something something something white male privilege something something bad (who’s got two thumbs and just read a scathingCal Seething-050514-nick critique of rape culture on Jezebel- THIS GUY!) but if it is, I can certainly relate because I’m a Good Fan who loves Bad Teams. I’m Molly Ringwald giving a diamond earring to the Knicks to piss off my parents. I’m Mallory Keaton waiting for the Jets take me away on their motorcycle to a 7-9 season. I’m Kelly Taylor in a torrid Beverly Hills romance with the team owner who wanted Paula Deen to cater his NAACP Awards Banquet. I’m Mindy Kaling who…uhm…has that guy she likes….you know….that guy….who’s kind of a…. jerk….you know…uhm….Excuse me for a second (totally out of touch with pop-culture male pattern baldness oh my god I’m a failure what have I done with my life midlife crisis related crying jag crying jag.)

And speaking of Sterling- I know V. Stiviano insists he’s not really a racist- but just look at what he makes her wear to bed:

Cal Seething-050514-mask


Come on. If you can’t hang out with a mixed race girl without making her look like Boba Fett- you’re a fucking racist. Actually, I’m not being fair. The mask was Stiviano’s idea- she was inspired by all those Clipper fans who were also embarrassed to be fucked by Sterling.

Cal Seething-050514-clipperbags

It was nice, though, to see Sterling express some genuine regret when he said “I should have just paid her off”. The most touching expression of remorse since Marion Berry’s “Bitch set me up” and Hitler’s “Scheisse! I knew we shouldn’t have filmed everything. Now we look like dicks”.

Anyhow- this isn’t all about Sterling- even if he did give out white hoods as yarmulkes at his son’s Bar Mitzvah and only invited Koreans. It’s a larger trend, a problem I’ve had my whole life. Show me a winning team, with humble players, a brilliant coach and a classy owner and I’ll be calling them “cocksuckers” and screaming at the television. How about you? Are you a Good Fan who loves Bad Teams? Just take this quiz to find out.

  1. This season, I’m totally psyched for:Cal Seething- 050514- Tim
    1. The Superbowl!
    2. The World Series!
    3. The Finals!
    4. The Draft Lottery.
  2. Watching the San Antonio Spurs is like:
    1. Poetry
    2. Ballet
    3. A symphony
    4. Death
  3. Derek Jeter is  Cal Seething-050514-jeter
    1. A great team captain
    2. A true champion
    3. A class act
    4. Douchey
  4. This offseason, I’m looking forward to:
    1. Getting some quality young players in the draft
    2. Getting healthy after a long hard season
    3. Adding more weapons on offense
    4. No new indictments
  5. My favorite part of going to a game is:
    1. Watching top athletes performing in their prime
    2. Cheering the home team to victory
    3. The emotional roller coaster of a hard fought battle
    4. NACHOS. Duh.
  6. Tom Brady isCal Seething- 050514- brady
    1. A leader on and off the field
    2. One of the great NFL success stories
    3. Handsome and charming
    4. Oh my God such a douche
  7. Word Association- when I say “butt” you think:
    1. Tush
    2. Ass
    3. Rear
    4. DAMN YOU SANCHEZ!!!!!
  8. My favorite AFC East team isCal Seething-050514-butt
    1. Patriots
    2. Patriots
    3. Patriots
    4. Losing to the Patriots
  9. The owner of my favorite team is
    1. A noted philanthropist
    2. An internet billionaire
    3. Not James Dolan
    4. Banned for life
  10. Peyton Manning is:Cal Seething-050514-peyton
    1. A brilliant offensive mind
    2. One of the top 10 QB’s of all time
    3. Still playing at an extraordinarily high level
    4. All of the Above. And such a douche

Give yourself 1 point for every “D” answer.

BONUS Questions:

Subtract 1 point for each piece of team attire that you wear unironically.

Did you download the Samsung LeBron James App? Subtract 10 points. Also, you’re dead to me.Cal Seething- 050514- bronapp

Add 1 point for every Ohio based team you like. Not from Ohio? Add 5 extra points. Also- seriously??? Are your parents from Ohio or something?? Did you go to school in Ohio?? Do you hate yourself?? Cause, I love underdogs, but everything from Ohio is crap and Johnny Football can’t change that.

Have you ever spotted Jack Nicholson at a home game? Subtract 2 points.

Have you ever spotted Billy Crystal at a home game? Add 2 points.

Have you ever spotted Tony Romo at a home game? Add 1 point. Was he starting at Quarterback? Add 5 points.

Do you like Tiger Woods? Subtract 5 points- unless you only like him cause he’s a sex addict, in which case add 2 points.

Are you secretly disappointed when a player you like thanks Jesus? Add 2 points.

Are you a Cubs fan? Add like a gazillion points. Seriously, dude, you should have said something- you could have skipped the whole Cal Seething-050514-cubsquiz. I mean, you just washed a handful of downers down with a pint of vodka- don’t waste the time you have left reading this.



1 – 3 points: You’re reprehensible. A star-fucking fair weather bandwagon jumper. A Duke fan. God, I’m jealous. It must be GREAT. I can’t even download the LeBron app on my BlackBerry.

3 – 5 points: You are knowledgeable and informed fan. You like teams that “play the right way”, players that are humble, and coaches who value hard work and discipline over flashy play and superstars. You refer to the golf course at Augusta at “hallowed Cal Seething-050514-whiteground”, put your hand over your heart during the national anthem and actually think it means something that “team” isn’t spelled with an “I”- even though, seriously, how would you fit an “I” into that word if you wanted to? Teiam? Teami? iTeam?? All terrible. You love Kevin Costner, U2, How I Met Your Mother, hamburgers and Disney. You are… the least interesting man in the world. You don’t always drink beer, but when you do, you always make sure someone else is driving and never have more than two Michelob Ultras. When comedians do their impression of white people- they’re actually doing you. If you were a flavor of ice cream, you’d be slight lactose intolerance. It’s actually boring me to write about you so I’ll stop.

5 – 8 points: You’re cool. Whatever.

8+ points: You have a problem. You don’t actually enjoy sports- you use sports to atone for your sins. And based on the teams you choose, you’ve got a WHOLE lot of sins to work off. Seriously, it’s all about masochism for you- hell, you don’t need a throwback jersey for your team- you need a hair shirt. The only joy you ever do get is cheering for the downfall of the teams you hate. This makes you an incredibly unpleasant person. Because you are a Good Fan who loves Bad Teams, like me- and we both have a serious problem to deal with.

I don’t really fall for teams that are consistently terrible- teams who fail miserably year after year and who are out of contention after the first month of the season. Those are the teams you elope with when you’re young. Everyone tells you that they’re no good- but you don’t care cause you know they just need the love of a good fan to make their dreams come true. But then, the years pass and failures mount and they just sit on the couch watching the playoffs and talking about how unfair it is that the calls never go their way and how great they could have been if they could have just stayed healthy and how maybe they could actually amount to something if they just got a little support and encouragement from the fans for a change instead of being criticized by the press all the time. Meanwhile that team you used to cheer for a little in high school wins championship after championship and opens a successful chain of hardware stores while you watch on your crappy old TV/VCR in the kitchen clipping coupons for Eggo Waffles and sobbing silently.

Cheering for those perennially terrible teams is like being an American during the Bush years. Yeah- sure, it’s embarrassing and Cal Seething- 050514-bushawful- but what did you expect? All you can do is hunker down, laugh it off and pray to the God of your choice that he doesn’t go to war in Iran.

No- I fall in love wiht teams with POTENTIAL, with EXPECTATIONS. I’m talking about teams like the Knicks- teams with talent and experience and money- teams that are just about to break through, just about to compete, just about to turn it around and to reward all of their miserable fans for their decades of pointless support. I’m talking about being an American during the Obama years. Cause this was supposed to be our time, our moment- the pendulum was swinging back and everything was finally going to change for the better, Democratic President, Democratic Congress- how could we fail- bring it on MOTHERFUCKERS! And then…..nothing. Well, OK- that’s totally not fair- he did a lot: ending Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell, the Affordable Care Act, ARRA, ending the Iraquistan wars- it’s just we wanted so much more- comprehensive immigration reform, major climate change legislation-  hell, he took us the Playoffs- but we wanted a RING. And now it’s only a matter of time before they blow up the administration and everything goes back to shit again. Huh. Excuse me (Horrible state of the world crying jag). There’s nothing worse about losing when you should have won. Just think of the Buffalo Bills- they make it to the Superbowl four years in a row and come away with nothing but a shitty Vincent Cal Seething-050514-buffaloGallo movie that makes them a metaphor for failure. Or ask Mark Jackson- dude guides his team to their best record since…well…. the Buffalo Bills were relevant (hello insult- meet injury) and gets fired for not going further in the playoffs. Or ask me- I got a fucking B- in French and my parents were all up in my shit like I should be doing better or something. You know, 25 years ago. It hurt, man. Having potential sucks. That also happened so long ago the Buffalo Bills were actually relevant. Sorry Buffalo. But you know you suck. You’re too close to Ohio not to. But I’m just lashing out. (Not living up to my potential and also not speaking French very well crying jag.)

And then, of course, there’s the other type of “badness”- bad behavior. Now- this is a tricky area- we all have our own deeply personal sense of right and wrong informed by upbringing, belief system, cultural norms and life experience. Fortunately, we don’t need to rely on any of that crap because we have ESPN and Twitter to tell us what to be mad about! #PitchforksandTorches So- for example- decades of discriminatory housing and employment practices- no problem- but an audio recording saying some vile hateful shit about Magic Johnson (NOT MAGIC!) Banned for Life! Cause everybody knows words speak louder than actions. And then there’s Jameis Winston- a few months ago everyone was all rape charges, shmape charges- but now Cal-Seething--050514--crabthat he’s been caught stealing crablegs?? THE MAN IS A MONSTER (he said the crab legs were asking for it) I mean, it’s not really a shock – women’s rights have always lagged behind seafood rights in the South- hell, Louisiana gave crawdads the vote in 1894. But still – it’s a new low, even for Florida.

Anyhow, there are bad teams and there are bad people and then there are the Clippers- a horrible team owned by a horrible person. The Clippers aren’t just bad, historically- they’re the best at being bad. They’re the William Shakespeare of Bad, the New York Yankees of Bad, the…well LA Lakers of Bad. And Sterling? Well, Dylan Farrow just picked him as the Worst Jew Ever. And Shelly Sterling’s no better- they’re the Bluths of basketball. But I don’t care- I love that team. I loved them when they really sucked, I loved them when they just sort of sucked and I love them now that they just might be good enough to win the honor of being crushed by the Heat. Blame Star Wars if you want. How am I supposed to cheer for the Evil Empire – no matter how well coached and organized they are (Darth Vader cuts the sleeves off his robe) when there’s a rag tag bunch butt fumbling rebels on the other side? So maybe it’s not really Bad Teams that I love, but Good Stories. Stories like Allen Iverson- who threw his body around like it was rented as he willed his Sixers into the Finals. Iverson- who was so good at being great and so bad at being merely human. And the 08 Celtics – three aging stars sweating blood for the only title they were ever going to get as they battled through three seven game series en route to beating the Lakers in six. I mean- come on- just look at how happy Kevin Garnett is?

Come on- ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!! Doesn’t that make you tear up a little?? Hell, I started to cry just embedding this link into the post. How could you not love that unless you’re a Laker fan in which case suck it.  How can you watch this and say that you’d rather watch the Heat win year after year so that LeBron can exhibit his Samsung McJoy??  Cause to me, that’s the best part of sports. Not the statistics but the raw humanity on display- and speaking of humanity- if Sterling’s audio recordings made you lose faith in it- Kevin Durant’s MVP speech might just restore a little bit. Wow. I know. That’s inspiring, right? Do you know how hard it was to cheer for the Clippers to break his legs after watching that?? But I did it- because I’m a Good Fan- and someday- someday I’ll find myself a nice team that really appreciates my support and rewards me with consistent victory. But, you just know that when I do- I’ll probably just want to be friends.

Meanwhile LET’S GO CLIPPERS thump thump thump thump thump LET’S GO CLIPPERS thump thump thump thump thump.Cal Seething- 050514- clipperd If you think Clipper Darrell is happy now- wait til you see how psyched he is when Oprah owns the team. Celebrities in the stands, banners in the rafters, sold out houses night after night. Huh. Sounds terrible. Maybe I’ll become a Laker fan.




[California Seething] When Smart Phones Happen to Dumb People

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As all of us who live far away from their parents know, there comes a moment in every visit to them when they bring up the Box in the Garage. That is to say- the box of your childhood treasures which they’ve been lugging around like the placenta of your adolescence Cal-Seething--051914--treasever since you left home. It’s a tricky situation for me- on the one hand- everything in that box is precious and laden with historical significance- so there is no way that any of it should be thrown out. On the other hand- what am I gonna do with all that crap? Have you seen the size of my place? I bring home that box- where’s the dog gonna sleep? Plus, let’s keep it real- how much difference is it really gonna make to clean out one box from that garage? It’s like trimming the Elephant Man’s toenails or the sum total of all US efforts to address Global Climate Change so far. Seriously- if Congress can’t even be bothered to save the human race from extinction then what is the fucking point of having them there? We should just disband the fucking thing so we can shut off the A/C in the Capitol – at least then we would know that we’re making a difference.

Anyhow, the point is, I don’t want to deal with the Box in the Garage so when the subject comes up, I rely on the magic of Passive Aggression to make it go away. Seriously, have you tried that shit? It’s like pixie dust, just sprinkle on annoying tasks and watch them disappear in a cloud of silent resentment.

Still, there comes a time in everyone’s life when one has to get off the endless Merry Go Round of “I’m totally gonna take care of that box on this trip” / “Golly, I really hope we have time to clean out that box while I’m here” / “OK- NEXT TIME-I’m TOTALLY gonna take care of that box” – and face up to one’s past like a man (Or woman. Or whatever.) Most developmental experts agree that the best age for this is 25, although 29 is considered “acceptable”, 32 is considered “pushing it”, and 41 is considered “A fucking embarrassment. Seriously, dude- are you kidding me?? You made your parents schlep a box of your shit to Albuquerque??? You should be ashamed Cal-Seething--051914--bigheof yourself” – and, I suppose I would be ashamed of myself if shame was an emotion I was capable of feeling- though, as you can see from the accompanying photo- it’s clearly not. Still, the time finally came- and I went through The Box.

And, oh- what treasures did I uncover! A one legged Han Solo in a winter jacket like he just had a grisly snowmobile accident on Hoth, a high school chemistry notebook so extensively covered in doodles that my boredom could be seem clearly from space and handwritten instructions for my mother for using the VCR.  I can say without fear of contradiction that these instructions were among the most condescending pieces  of writing the world has ever seen- right up there with Everybody Poops, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and, of course, Paul’s famously lost “Letter to the Co-Worker who Keeps Eating my Food” – “Love is Patient. Love is Kind. So, I’m kindly and patiently asking you to please not take my Lean Cuisine meals out of the freezer. Cause I don’t know if you’re seeing my Mandarin Chicken through a glass darkly but my name is clearly written on it so please don’t touch . Thanks!!! :)”

I won’t include the full text of my instructions- suffice it to say that they Cal-Seething--051914--instrstarted with “Turn on TV and VCR” and ended with “Pull the head off a live chicken, drop its bleeding carcas (sic) in a pentagram drawn on the floor and dance around it on one leg holding the head in your right hand, over your head”. Hah! How witty! How droll! Look at teenage me-  Oscar Wilde with a denim jacket and a pornstache! I’m so very very clever for a person that can’t spell carcass. How simply absurd it was that my helpless mother even needed instructions to do something so painfully intuitive and obvious as using a VCR. Why, if it wasn’t for my help, she never would have even been able to set the time and the clock would simply have blinked 12 for eternity.

Anyhow, I wasn’t exactly sure why my mother kept those instructions in the Box all this time until I told her I got a new iPhone. Suddenly, she got excited because she regularly FaceTimes with my sister’s kids and she realized that she might be to FaceTime with me as well:

“Does your new phone have FaceTime?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Great! That means we can FaceTime each other!”

“Great! Can you FaceTime me?”

“Oh. Uhm. I don’t know how, Rachel and Claire always call me. Can you FaceTime me?”

“Sure. Well. Actually not. I don’t know how either.”


“I guess I could call Rachel.”

Suddenly- it all became clear. I understood exactly why she held on to those instructions for all of those years- and my headless chickens had come home to roost. (SHAMELESS HACK ALERT: I stole that joke from my wife. Like I said. I HAVE NO SHAME.)

Honestly, this is why I was afraid of getting an iPhone in the first place and held onto my Blackberry. I’m no idiot- I knew the Blackberry was obsolete- hell, Research In Motion was emailing me every week to be like “Dude we appreciate the support, but seriously- it’s ok. let it go. (sent from my iPhone).” And don’t start thinking I’m some kinda Luddite. I’ve been using computers my whole life. Shit, I went to Computer Camp, I programmed in BASIC, I had a goddamn Compuserve account in 1985 which I accessed using a 300 Baud Modem so I could fail to pick up “girls” in chat rooms. Do you have any idea what I’m talking about? Of course not. Most of this stuff happened before you born. I’m only making things worse. Using these references to demonstrate my computer skills to millennials is like using my daguerreotype skills to demonstrate my photography acumen to a National Geographic photographer.  Or for that matter- like using “National Geographic Photographer” in a paragraph that’s all about how I’m not totally old and irrelevant. Ironic- right? That’s some real Alanis Morrisette shit for you. Ha! There’s a hip and relevant pop-culture reference that ought to salvage my credibility. How ya like me now, kids- I’m a regular Chris Kattan! Whazzzzzz UP!!!!!

The point is- I’m good with Computers. I’ve always been good with Computers. I’m a beige box,  CRT, color coded serial port, Cal Seething- 051914- pcdust-caked vent in the back, mess of cable, Ctrl-Alt-Delete PC using motherfucker and that’s why I liked the Blackberry- it was like a teeny weenie baby little computer- little screen, little keyboard, little touchpad to make the little mouse cursor around. It even worked like shit most of the time and had to be rebooted regularly when it died for no reason. Like a little bit of home in my pocket. The only thing that would have made it better would have been bright green type on a black screen. Now- don’t get me wrong- I knew it was a piece of shit- but it was a piece of shit I was comfortable with- like a busted old couch that’s been worn to the exact shape of your ass or a favorite pair of jeans that you wear until the pockets are all torn up from keeping your keys in them or a favorite pair of boxers that you wear until they are completely worn through at the crotch. It was worn and abused and outdated and inadequate and every time I pulled it out I felt like I might as well be pulling out a car phone connected to a brief case and sure, I should have been ashamed of myself for using such an absurdly outdated piece of technology but, as you can see in the accompanying photo, I don’t do “ashamed of myself” and so, years after thesharknado rest of the world’s Blackberries had been converted to e-waste, I was still lugging one around in the torn up pocket of my comfortable jeans with boxers that were little more than negative space held together by optimism.

Then I spilled water on the table one day and my Blackberry took it’s big chance to kill itself so I got an iPhone. Well, ok, I’ll be honest- I called our IT department to ask about getting another Blackberry and, was informed in the gentle tone usually reserved for interventions with heroin addicts that I had a problem and that the first step was admitting it and the second step was BUYING A FUCKING IPHONE ALREADY. So…I did.  I’ll be honest- I was worried this would be my technological Waterloo. I wouldn’t be able to cope with the keyboard on the screen, I would be paralyzed by the sheer smooth slick Appleosity of the device, I would try to download Instagram and the clock would start blinking 12:00 o clock and I would never be able to make it work again and everyone would know that I was old and out of touch and useless and some snarky fucking teenager would have to write out instructions about how to use my iPhone and would include some asshole joke about sacrificing chickens and I would have to kill him and no court in the land would convict me because judges are useless and old, too and their iPhones also blink 12:00.

But none of that happened. Turns out it’s a great device. I love it. Fits my hand like my dick except it’s socially acceptable to play with at Starbucks (trust me). I still have to get a 10 year old to explain FaceTime to me, but otherwise- I’ve adapted perfectly. I’ve even adapted to the on-screen keyboard. See- I was all freaked out that there was no way I’d be able to type accurately on a keyboard if I couldn’t feel the buttons. And so I was relieved to discover that, in fact, I was right- there is no way of typing accurately on a keyboard when you can’t feel the buttons- it’s physically impossible- it’s like tapdancing a Jane Austin novel in Morse Code on ice skates or expressing an opinion about gender issues as a man- no matter how well intentioned you are- you just end up clumsily pushing all the wrong buttons. But that’s ok! I can just blithely bang out complete gibberish and let auto-correct figure it out! It’s amazing! No wonder kids have trouble spelling- they thing “tomorrow” is spelled “rpnottpw” and “since” is spelled “ximvr”. Wow. I just sounded a million years old. Seriously, Wilford Brimley and a pterodactyl are talking about what a lame ass I am (“back in my day, when we made a mistake we had to use the BACKSPACE key. Sometimes- five, ten, even fifteen keystrokes. And we liked it!”) When texting on an iPhone, you’ve gotta be like Lot leaving Sodom- never look back at the chaos behind you and have faith that Auto Correct will make it alright. And- you know what? Usually it does. I mean, it might not be exactly the message you intended to send- but it’s the message that Steve Jobs would have wanted you to send- and, so, according to Apple Logic, it is therefore superior to any independent thought you might have had on your own. Thank God Steve uploaded his consciousness to the iPhone before he died! (well, what did you think Siri was?)

I mean, I know people complain a lot about Autocorrect- but I think we should have it in every area of our lives. Like- how great would it be if we had Autocorrect when we spoke. Just think about how much less trouble Donald Sterling would be in if he had said “It bothers me a lot that you have to advertise that you’re associating with Wack People- do you have to?” Nothing controversial about that. Nobody likes the Wack- they’re always on Crack. And it might be rude of him to tell her not to bring Ernie Cal Seething- 051914- ernieJohnson to games, cause he’s a super nice guy and all, but it wouldn’t be racist.

Anyhow- point is- iPhone. Fucking great. And to think all those years I was terrified of making a change. Made me think- what other sorts of changes can I make? Well, it turns out there’s quite a list: anger issues, impulse control, grooming, fashion, table manners, physical fitness, workplace appropriate language, driving, hand-eye coordination, remembering birthdays, work-life balance, diet and terrifying amounts of body hair. Oh- and I’ve never flossed. Like EVER. Huh. All this self-reflection is actually really demotivating. It’s listening to NPR- 10 minutes and I’m like- “let’s change the world!” but after an hour I’m all “pass the Cheetos- we’re doomed!” (I’m also easily discouraged) Still- I didn’t want my iPhone to be disappointed in me, so I decided to at least go swimming. This was partially an effort to improve my abysmal physical fitness and partially because it was ridiculously hot. Like- crazy hot, stupid hot, like even Pat Sajak can’t deny there’s a problem-Cal Seething- 051914- plunge hot. Anyhow- I headed to down to the Culver City Municipal Plunge ™. If you’re not familiar with Culver City- and shame on you if you’re not- I mean- we’ve got more gastropubs per square foot than Rome has fountains and a Palm Springs nursing home has glory holes, but, anyhow, if you’re not familiar with this little town, the Plunge ™ is a beautifully maintained city pool about a mile west of the Kirk Douglas Theatre. I’ve gone swimming there many times in my mind but, unfortunately for me, and every person in America, thinking about exercise while eating Cheetos is not actually considered exercise by the American Medical Association or Michelle Obama.  So, I decided to go for realsies. I packed my little Culver City Mayor’s Luncheon Commemorative Totebag with my bathing suit, towel, and sunscreen, made sure I had a couple dollars in change and I took the bus to go swimming, This, btw, is the first time in history that a person over the age of 11 has used the phrase “I took the bus to go swimming.” Last time this sentence appeared in print it was in an essay titled “What I Did My Summer Vacation” and it was preceded by “When Dad left, my Mom couldn’t afford to send me to camp anymore” and followed by “When I ask her to drive me to the pool she just cries and screams at me that it’s all my fault she’s going to die alone.”

Anyhow- I got off the bus in the sweltering heat and approached the shimmering blue water of the Plunge ™. As I got closer, I began to see troubling signs: a truck with a generator; scruffy dudes with pony tails; a honey wagon. Bad stuff. Disturbing stuff. The rat droppings of the film industry. When I got to the Plunge’s ™ entrance- I saw another sign. An actual sign. A sign that read “Closed for filming starting at 8 AM. All Day. On the hottest day of the year. Because we hate you. You, Eric. We hate you and find your suffering funny. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Too far?”

I wasn’t sure what to do.

I just stood there sweating.

I read the sign a few more times.

It didn’t change.

The pool was there. Calling to me. Icy cold relief just on the other side of the fence.

But they were filming.

And I couldn’t get to it.

This was a terrible day to work on my physical fitness. But an even worse day to work on my anger management issues.

I may have yelled “motherfuckers” at no one in particular and screamed “You just wait til the Mayor hears from me about this!” to a tree. That tree is really shaking in its roots.

And now- I’m not sure I can ever go back to the Plunge ™. Or rather, I wouldn’t be able to go if I had any sense of shame- but, of course I don’t.Los Angeles-20131031-00345

So…yeah….self improvement. Fuck that shit.  But the new iPhone? Awesome!

I guess the moral of this little story is that it’s better to upgrade your phone than to upgrade yourself. Wait- no, that’s a terrible moral- maybe I should FaceTime my Mom and get a better one. Crap- where did I put those FaceTime instructions from Rachel? I’m pretty sure she said there was a chicken involved.

And if she shows me how to Uber, I won’t have to take the bus to the pool anymore.

[HorroR Stories] Help! I Work for a Racist Bastard!

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hrs newDear Madame HR,

I just found out my boss made offensive and racist comments. I find his behavior disgusting and I don’t want to work for him anymore, however, I am under contract and don’t have a lot of options right now. What do I do?


This is Mme HR’s fantasy land where a professional basketball player would write to her and ask her advice. Go with me people. But I think that all of us, at one point in our career, have hit that point where we are exposed to some dirty naughty bits that don’t sit right and we have to make a decision. Do we live with it or do we go? And if we go, storm out in a cloud of moral outrage, where do we go?

You’d have to be living in a cave to not have heard about Donald Sterling, billionaire owner of the NBA team the LA Clippers. Allegedly, Mr. Sterling (which incidentally is not his real last name, he changed it to Sterling from something that ended in –witz) told his mixed race girlfriend to get rid of all the pictures of black people on her Instagram and not to bring them to Clipper games. Even perennial LA local hero and smiley-pie Magic Johnson is not welcome at Clipper games. Supposedly, or allegedly, or whatever.

buildingAnd if you are from LA, or live in LA, or want to live in LA than you know not to rent in one of Sterling’s apartment buildings! Ha! Ba-dum-dum. Cuzlook, when this story broke there wasn’t anyone out there saying: “That doesn’t sound like something Donald Sterling would say.” Sterling has been sued for sexual harassment more times than our other favorite (not) NBA boss, Isaiah Thomas. He’s a slumlord and I guess a bit of a maverick, but I suppose working your way up from being the son of a grocer in Boyle Heights to being a billionaire whose last name is Sterling doesn’t happen by accident.

Maybe I’m cynical, 12 years in HR does tend to take a toll on you in the whole faith in humanity department. So when I say that if you think you can quit your job because the CEO is a racist evil asshole and you are going to go out there and find a new job where the CEO isn’t a racist evil asshole you are dreaming, does that make me cynical? And maybe it’s not racist, maybe it’s sexist or money grubbingist, or some other ist, but look, like I said before, these guys don’t get where they are by accident.

I remember having a conversation with one of the CFOs I worked with. He was truly in a moral dilemma because when he had gone on a business trip with the CEO he witnessed the CEO soliciting a prostitute. The married CEO. Because I’m a pragmatist, I couldn’t really help him beyond the commiseration in the moral outrage department. He’s the CEO, he likes call girls. Is he a good CEO? (In this case, no). Is the company succeeding? (In this case, no). So what are you going to do? What can you live with? Can you still look at yourself in the mirror? The CFO left, by the way, but more I think because the company was tanking than the CEO’s adultery.

So what should the Clippers do? They don’t have a lot of options. They can stop playing, great, but they really only hurt protestthemselves as they are in the midst of round 1 of the playoffs. They can ask to be traded, but that can’t really happen until the season is over. They can protest, make symbolic gestures like the one they made on Sunday where they dropped their uniform jackets in the middle of the court and wore their practice jersey’s inside out. I think ultimately, as the worker bee in this scenario, all they can do is keep working. Yes, it’s demotivating and crappy as hell, but what are you going to do? Jeff van Gundy, analyst for ABC and all around white guy blowhard kept lamenting over and over that they should “do something.”  One of his suggestions was to sit in silence on the bench for 15 minutes. Um…ok… they could just sit there while the game is starting? The other team, would be like, “hey guys,” bounce, bounce, bounce, “wanna play?”

We can’t all work for Mother Theresa. Wait, is she hiring? This is the world we live in. CEOs are evil (mostly), rich people are evil (sometimes) and it sucks. Here’s how I handle it because I’ve had to swallow my share of shit over the years. I focus on my co-workers, my teammates, and my customers, the other employees. I show up for them, I work for them, I hope that I contribute something for them. So Clippers, play for each other and play for your fans, focus on that. Hopefully Sterling will get his, but let’s keep it real, how do you punish a billionaire asshole? Take him to court? He would LOVE for you to take him to court. He cut his teeth in this world as a personal injury lawyer. Fine him? Ok, but it’s probably chump change to him. Embarrass him? Again, good luck, his reputation is already pretty bad (see personal injury lawyer above).

That’s what really sucks, because there isn’t something you can do to this guy to truly give him what he deserves. Let’s hope that God’s got that covered on the other side. So, you just gotta keep doing what you gotta do, you feel me? It’ll be ok, don’t hold yourself accountable for his disgustingness. Milk ain’t free.

Extra hugs,